Arya's In-Flight Asian Film Festival

legendofthefist

Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen
Director: Andrew Lau
Hong Kong

What do you get when you cross a war movie, a gangster movie, a kung fu movie and a superhero movie together? One badass Donnie Yen movie, apparently.

Back in 1995, the amazing Yen starred in a 30-episode TV series Fist of Fury as Chen Zhen, the last 15 of which remake Bruce Lee's hit movie of the same name. Apparently not content with paying recognition to just Bruce Lee's master in the Ip Man film series, Yen wants to do a big Bruce Lee tribute, as well. Legend of the Fist is one big Bruce Lee homage. That sounds obvious as it is a sequel to the TV series, but the film also has Yen adopting Lee's signature elements—the action choreography (which Yen did himself, as usual) incorporates nunchakus, Jeet Kune Do, footwork and taunting yells.

Yen's TV series ended the same way Lee's movie did: a freeze frame of Chen Zhen doing a flying kick towards a hail of gunfire. This movie, however, reveals that Chen Zhen didn't die. He faked his death and went to France to help the Allies fight the Germans in WWI. Seven years after the end of Fist of Fury and after almost single-handedly slaying a German battalion, Chen Zhen assumes the identity of a fellow fallen Chinese and returns to Shanghai. There, he leads the resistance against the invading Japanese and, in the most overt Bruce Lee homage in the film, prowls the night in a Kato costume, saving anti-Japanese activists from assassinations, essentially turning this into a superhero movie.

This superhero angle comes out of nowhere and never really gels with the actual plot, especially since it doesn't even figure into the climax—which is a Fist of Fury rehash with Chen Zhen taking down an entire dojo of Karate/Judo fighters before going mano-a-mano with a Japanese army general—but they serve as great teasers for how great a Green Hornet movie could be with Donnie Yen as Kato. The 47-year-old Yen is in amazing shape, looks youthful and is as agile as guys half his age, making this a hell of an entertaining movie.

US release on April 15, 2011.



Feb
05
2011
Arya Ponto • Contributor

As former Editor of JPP, Arya likes to entertain peeps with his thoughts on pop culture, when he's not busy watching Battle Royale for the 200th time. He lives in Brooklyn with a comic book collection that's always the most daunting thing to move with, and writes for Artboiled.com.

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